Archive | November, 2011

Movie Review: “Anonymous” ***

Posted on 07 November 2011 by Kevin Benninger

To see or not to see “Anonymous:” that is the question. In telling the story of Shakespeare, one would hardly expect to find even close to the same brilliant dialogue, political intrigue or depth of human emotion that embody a large portion of Shakespeare’s work. Yet, it seems that writer John Orloff was intent on at least reflecting these features in his story about Shakespeare, or actually, the story about the person that some argue actually wrote the Shakespeare plays. Brilliant acting, intriguing plot and a wonderfully imagined London (including, of course, the Globe Theatre) bring the world of Shakespeare to life in ”Anonymous.” While it is a good movie, it is no “dish fit for the gods.”

To say that this story is “ahistorical” would be an understatement. The history in this movie is about as historical as Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The timeline, and the events are arranged to the plot in a very favorable way, and there were certainly many creative liberties taken with the historical portrayal of the characters. Despite how much these things may have bothered me, I had to remind myself (as I think others should) that it is a movie meant for entertainment, not a serious Shakespeare biography that answers whether he did or did not write the plays for which he is famous. Even with the obvious inaccuracies, I still found the story to be tremendously entertaining. Shakespeare the drunk, Ben Johnson the jealous and Elizabeth I as a lustful young woman are all intriguing portrayals of historical figures never seen quite in this same light before. If one truly disregards the inaccuracies and takes it as the entertainment that it is meant to be, it is really a fun movie.

Rhys Ifans leads the cast as Edward de Vere, the Earl of Oxford and the proposed “true writer” of the Shakespeare plays. Along with David Thewlis (Harry Potter films) as William Cecil and Joely Richardson (The Patriot, Nip/Tuck) as the young Elizabeth I, the film has a solid cast. Edward de Vere’s story is one of politics, betrayal, lust and the struggle to express the human soul above all else. As it turns out, despite having the inheritance and heredity to become one of the most powerful men in England, de Vere chooses to be a writer. Despite all that the film entails, the story sets out to show that the power of the words are more important than the politics or violence that surround it. In fact, without giving anything away, it is in one of the scenes where Ben Johnson finally tells de Vere what he thinks of his writings, where one of the most emotional exchanges in the movie takes place.

“Anonymous” has some bothersome flaws besides the inaccuracies, however. The introduction and departure of various characters without much explanation or characterization is a bit overwhelming at times. Also, there was significant room for development of Robert Cecil’s character and his relationship with de Vere, an interesting aspect of the story that seemed to be ignored for too much of the film. Overall, though, it was a highly entertaining take on the true history of Shakespeare’s plays and poetry. So, back to our question from the beginning, and here is my answer: “Anonymous” is a flawed but entertaining film. I say, see it.

by Kevin Benninger
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Marquette Men’s Basketball 2011-12 Season Predictions

Posted on 06 November 2011 by Ryan Ellerbusch

Coming off a Sweet 16 appearance in the NCAA Tournament last March, the 2011-12 Marquette men’s basketball team is poised, hyped, and ready for the start of a new season. Buzz Williams is entering his fourth season as head coach of the Golden Eagles and there is a lot of optimism from both players and fans that this squad has the potential to accomplish great things. With the season fast approaching, blue and gold shirts and basketball jerseys are being worn more then ever on campus. It’s only a matter of time before The Bradley Center reopens its doors to the Marquette faithful as the “We Are Marquette” cheers will echo the arena in hopes for another great Golden Eagles’ run to postseason glory.

My BOLD Season Predictions:

  • Finish 5th in BIG EAST regular season standings
  • Advance to 3rd round quarterfinal of BIG EAST Tournament
  • Advance to Elite 8 round of NCAA Tournament

Regular Season Non-conference

11/11/11 vs. Mount St. Mary’s – 8:00 p.m.

  • WIN:  Marquette will tip-off the season and get off on the right foot with a blowout win over the Mountaineers. This should be a fun game to watch because the entire Golden Eagles’ squad should see plenty of minutes. The road begins tonight and will not end until the Elite 8 round in late March.

11/14/11 vs. Norfolk State – 6:00 p.m.

  • WIN:  The only challenge Marquette will face in this game is if they can draw enough fans to this Monday weeknight showdown against the Spartans to see yet another win in blowout fashion.

Paradise Jam (U.S. Virgin Islands)

11/18/11 vs. Winthrop – 7:30 p.m.

  • WIN : The first game overseas and on a neutral court for the Golden Eagles but they adjust to the different arena and take care of business to win game one.

11/19/11 vs. Mississippi/Drake – TBA

  • WIN:  Marquette continues to roll in game two of the tournament and advances. By this game, we should begin to see which players Buzz consistently starts and the rotations that will be used most often.

11/21/11 TBA

  • WIN:  Marquette will likely match-up with Virginia in the championship game of Paradise Jam if the favorites can pull through. Virginia has received a few votes in the pre-season polls, but have no where near the potential that the Golden Eagles have.

Regular Season Non-conference

11/28/11 vs. Jacksonville – 7:00 p.m.

  • WIN:  Marquette returns home to The Bradley Center to beat up on the Dolphins before facing their two toughest non-conference opponents in a four day stretch.

12/03/11 @ Wisconsin – 3:30 p.m.

  • LOSS:  Simply put, the Badgers just do not lose at home in The Kohl Center where head coach Bo Ryan is 152-11 in his tenure. The Golden Eagles won’t go down without a fight and will be in the game right down to the wire. Good senior leadership from Jordan Taylor, who was named to the AP Pre-Season All-America Team, will be the difference maker as Marquette will suffer their first loss of the season.

Jimmy V Classic (New York)

12/06/11 vs. Washington 8:00 p.m.

  • WIN:  Washington eliminated Marquette from the 2010 NCAA Tournament after coming back and winning on a last second shot for the upset. Marquette this time around is the much better team and will bounce back from losing to in-state rival Wisconsin with an impressive victory over the Huskies, who begin the season as the 29th best team in college basketball.

Regular Season Non-conference

12/10/11 vs. Green Bay – 1:00 p.m.

  • WIN:  Last year, UWGB was the victim of a Darius Johnson-Odom dunk on SportsCenter that came in as the #1 top play. Luckily, that same domination will continue into this year too. Phoenix coach Brian Wardle returns to coach against his alma mater where he was the third-leading scorer in Marquette history.

12/17/11 vs. Northern Colorado – 1:00 p.m.

  • WIN:  Winners of the Big Sky regular-season and tournament titles last season, the Bears recent success may come to an end unless their underclassmen can step up. The 16 total players on Northern Colorado’s roster consist of eight freshmen, five sophomores, two juniors, and one lone senior. Look for Marquette to exploit the Bears’ youth and lack of height by dominating down low in the post.

12/19/11 @ LSU – 8:00 p.m.

  • WIN:  An interesting match-up against a SEC team in the Tigers doesn’t catch Marquette off guard as LSU is looking for a breakthrough season although they return their four leading scorers from a year ago. Marquette will have to play on their heels in this game and not take anything for granted.

12/22/11 vs. Milwaukee – 8:00 p.m.

  • WIN:  Marquette is a perfect 38-0 against UWM and remained undefeated last year in narrowly beating the Panthers by just three points. UWM shared last season’s regular-season Horizon League championship and lost in the championship game at home to the eventual runner up in the NCAA National Championship game, Butler. The Panthers’ Kaylon Williams was selected to the preseason all-league first team, but Marquette should still cruise to victory in their final tune up non-conference game before BIG EAST play.

12/29/11 vs. Vanderbilt – 8:00 p.m.

  • LOSS:  One point is all that separated these two teams last season as Marquette fell to the Commodores 77-76 at Vanderbilt. This year though, Marquette hosts the 7th ranked Commodores. I anticipate this game to come down to the wire with Vanderbilt pulling it out by hitting a buzzer-beating shot at the end of regulation, possibly overtime. This Vanderbilt team may be the best in school history as they return John Jenkins who led the SEC last year averaging 19.5 points-per-game.

BIG EAST Conference

01/01/12 vs. Villanova – 12:00 p.m.

  • WIN:  The Wildcats are one of Marquette’s three repeat opponents this year. Marquette will grab the New Year’s Day victory at home over Villanova to start the 2012 year 1-0 in the BIG EAST. The Wildcats don’t have a single senior on their roster so this will be a rebuilding year for head coach Jay Wright.

01/04/12 @ Georgetown – 6:00 p.m.

  • WIN:  The loss of Austin Freeman and Chris Wright from last year’s team will be too much for the Hoyas to overcome early on in BIG EAST play. Jason Clark will be the guard to lead Georgetown with an average of 12 points a game last season and is the focal point on defense for Marquette to defend against.

01/07/12 @ Syracuse – 3:00 p.m.

  • LOSS:  The Orange come into the season ranked 5th in the nation and coach Jim Boeheim has a plethora of talent returning on his team. Scoop Jardine’s 12.5 points and 5.9 assists per game at point guard along with big man Kris Joseph adding 14.3 points and 5.2 rebounds per game last season will make Syracuse a likely Final Four and national championship contender along with UConn in the BIG EAST.

01/11/12 vs. St. John’s (Al’s Night) – 6:00 p.m.

  • WIN:  The St. John’s Red Storm will be one of the youngest teams in college basketball this season welcoming nine new players to their roster. Marquette will pounce on this inexperienced team and counter with their experience depth at all positions.

01/14/12 vs. Pittsburgh (95th Anniversary) – 1:00 p.m.

  • WIN:  Mark my words, Marquette will get their first quality BIG EAST win of the season over the Pittsburgh Panthers on the 95th anniversary of the program as many former basketball players are expected to be in attendance cheering on the Golden Eagles in The Bradley Center so Marquette should have that 6th Man advantage. Pitt is an exceptional team, but I’m feeling a Marquette upset on this particular day.

01/16/12 vs. Louisville (MLK Day) – 2:30 p.m.

  • LOSS:  The Golden Eagles still can’t get over the fact that they collapsed and allowed a 24-5 Louisville run over the final six minutes in last year’s devastating loss on the road. The Cardinals have a tough non-conference schedule so they will be more than ready to take center stage in Milwaukee and steal one from the blue and gold on the road. Head coach Rick Pitino will have his guys and exceptional back-court ready to play.

01/21/12 @ Providence – 6:00 p.m.

  • WIN:  ESPN’s latest recruiting rankings for the class of 2012 ranks Providence as the second highest team from the BIG EAST at 7th in the nation. Surprisingly, the Friars may have a bright future ahead of them even though they haven’t made the NCAA Tournament since 2004. But for now, it is Marquette’s game to win.

01/24/12 vs. USF – 7:00 p.m.

  • WIN:  The South Florida Bulls have some height on their roster that can both rebound and score, pondering the question, how much improvement will we see from Marquette’s Otule and Gardner as the season goes on. This could be a big test to see if our frontcourt can match up with the best of them and be effective come tournament time.

01/28/12 @ Villanova – 11:00 a.m.

  • LOSS:  Learning from their mistakes in their first matchup of the season will allow Villanova to upset Marquette as their younger players get experience and learn their roles on the team. The Wildcats’ frontcourt and 2-3 zone on defense will frustrate the Golden Eagles coming off easy wins over Providence and USF.

01/31/12 vs. Seton Hall – 7:00 p.m.

  • WIN:  Marquette should win this game versus Seton Hall with ease because in my opinion, the Pirates will most likely finish dead last in the conference this season. It’s always nice to play a cupcake opponent like Seton Hall in the middle of the season to boost team moral and try some new rotations and shuffle playing time options for the Marquette players.

02/04/12 @ Notre Dame – 12:00 p.m.

  • WIN:  Fanatics will be glad to know that one of our biggest rivals in the BIG EAST will be defeated this year as the Golden Eagles will take down the Fighting Irish for a big road W. Tim Abromaitis of Notre Dame will be asked to carry the load for his team this year and his 15.4 points and 6.1 rebounds along with a 42.9 percentage from beyond the arc will surely help. Notre Dame’s biggest downfall is that its bench lacks a lot of talent and depth.:

02/06/12 @ DePaul – 8:00 p.m.

  • WIN:  The DePaul Blue Devils were able to muster only one BIG EAST win last season as they went 1-17 in the conference. Although they return four starters, Marquette fans are bred in Illinois too and thus will travel well and will enjoy a Golden Eagles blowout on the road.

02/11/12 vs. Cincinnati (National Marquette Day) – 2:00 p.m.

  • WIN:  Last season, Cincinnati finally saw its program put together a very successful season with 26 wins and a trip to the NCAA Tournament where they even won a game. The Bearcats start the season narrowly cracking the top 25 in the polls and unfortunately for Marquette, the Golden Eagles will draw the Bearcats twice this upcoming year. Marquette prevails on National Marquette Day at home in game one.

02/18/12 @ Connecticut – 11:00 a.m.

  • LOSS:  The 2011 national champion UConn Huskies will begin their 2011-12 campaign as the top dog in the BIG EAST and ranked 4th nationally. The Huskies have four starters returning and will miss the clutch Kemba Walker dearly. Jeremy Lamb and Andre Drummond will lead the way for UConn and are both future NBA prospects. Head coach Jim Calhoun got into some big recruiting troubles this offseason causing him to be penalized by missing the first three BIG EAST games along with scholarship reductions.

02/22/12 vs. Rutgers – 7:00 p.m.

  • WIN:  The goal of second-year Rutgers’ head coach Mike Rice is to finish the season .500 and it will be very difficult to do so as six incoming freshmen join the Scarlet Knights’ roster. Rutgers will eventually reach that mark but for the time being, a Rutgers’ win sure won’t come against Marquette as they battle back at home and recover from the UConn defeat.

02/24/12 @ West Virginia – 8:00 p.m.

  • WIN:  The Mountaineers will also welcome six freshmen to their team as they look to rebuild with youth like many teams in the BIG EAST this season. Bob Huggins is a stellar head coach and will have his men ready to play at West Virginia where I think Marquette could be given a run for their money.

02/29/12 @ Cincinnati – 6:00 p.m.

  • LOSS:  Mick Cronin has done too good of a job as head coach at Louisville to not get a quality win and it will come at the expense of Marquette. Yancy Gates, a Preseason All-BIG EAST Second Team selection, led the Bearcats with 11.9 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks last year and he will be counted on to have another good season and game in the Louisville win over these two evenly matched teams.

03/03/12 vs. Georgetown (Senior Night) – TBA

  • LOSS:  Marquette has lost its past three Senior Night games dating back to the 2007-08 season and this loss to Georgetown will make it four. I have a feeling Marquette will be struggling and the fatigue will start to set in come the end of the regular season. The Hoyas youth surprises the Golden Eagles tonight.

BIG EAST Tournament

Finishing 5th in the BIG EAST would provide Marquette with a first round bye in the BIG EAST Tournament before drawing a No. 12 or 13 seed opponent in the second round which should make for an easy victory. I believe Marquette will also win their round three quarterfinal game against either Louisville or Pittsburgh before falling in the semifinal round of the BIG EAST Tournament to likely favorites Syracuse or UConn. That being said, the Golden Eagles will still carry with them a great deal of momentum heading into the grand daddy of them all, March Madness and the NCAA Tournament.

NCAA Tournament

If the Golden Eagles can manage to stay healthy and have good productive senior seasons from Darius Johnson-Odom and Jae Crowder, I expect Marquette to grab a 5-seed in the 2012 NCAA Tournament and make it all the way to the Elite 8. Excellent recruiting classes year after year and the ability to win close games under Buzz Williams have been big factors in the rapid rise of the program that is ascending up there with the best of them in college basketball today. Marquette being ranked in the pre-season poll and having Darius Johnson-Odom being selected on the All-BIG EAST First Team gives this team some great national recognition in hopes that they can do some damage come tournament time. The 2011-12 Marquette men’s basketball team is Elite 8 bound and their hard-work, dedication, and determination endured during bootcamp will help them achieve that goal.

by Ryan Ellerbusch
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MU Students for Life raise awareness through campus programming

Posted on 03 November 2011 by JKaiser92

Marquette Students for Life hosted guest speaker Bob Atwell, the CEO of Nicolet National Bank, on Tuesday, Oct. 25, to address students about the pro-life issue and social justice issues he believes should be a concern for all Catholics.

Atwell began the discussion by briefly addressing his own experience with abortion, in which he and his girlfriend made the decision together to have one in 1978. Atwell described his path to being committed to pro-life principles, which led his talk to other topics including economics, poverty and envirsonmental issues.

“I want [students] to be more deeply committed to the defense of the innocent unborn and women,” Atwell said. “I also want them to embrace the fullness of Catholic teaching of social justice in which the defense of innocent life is the most important right but not the only. Economic justice, environmentalism – all of those problems rest on a flawed understanding of the human person and it’s relationship to the common good.”

Atwell also stressed concern over friction between pro-life Catholics and social justice Catholics.

“[My talk] is centered on the dignity of the human person,” Atwell said. “It’s not my message. It’s the message of Jesus Christ and the Church. We got to put an end to this false dichotomy between social justice Catholicism and pro-life Catholicism.”

Students for Life president, senior Andrew Axt, found Atwell’s insight into abortion and social justice to be very valuable.

“I hope what people took away is that part of who we are as Catholics is to uphold the dignity of life,” Axt said. “Whether it be abortion, homelessness, euthanasia, stem cell research or just all social justice issues, none of them can be ignored.”

On Oct. 25, the day before Atwell’s appearance, Axt and the rest of Students for Life put up white crosses in the central mall, which they called the “cemetery of the innocent.” Each cross was supposed to represent an aborted unborn child.

“[The crosses are] mostly to raise awareness as well as keep [abortion] in the public sphere that this is just something that is a great travesty,” Axt said. “It needs to be kept front and center in our society that this isn’t something that should be tolerated.”

Atwell remarked that the efforts of Students for Life are not only acts of generosity but also means of promoting student happiness.

“This is not a vague sentimentality that if you do good, you’ll feel good,” Atwell said. “The reality of making yourself a gift for the good of others is the path to joy. It’s not the sorrowful sacrifice that you must make because your God demands of you. It’s the path to happiness.”

by Joseph Kaiser
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Against concealed carry on campus

Posted on 03 November 2011 by Evan Umpir

The Wisconsin State Legislature passed Act 35 this past summer, allowing weapons to be carried in the state concealed from public view. This is a major shift for Wisconsin, as prior to Act 35, the state had open-carry, but the right to carry a weapon in plain view was rarely exercised. This is a step forward for Wisconsin as we now join forty-eight other states with concealed-carry laws, leaving Illinois as the only state not having such a law. However, the debate for us is not about concealed carry – it is about concealed carry on Marquette’s campus. In this instance, I think that Marquette has made a good decision to bar weapons from being carried on campus.

At the recent student forum, Fr. Pilarz stated that what it comes down to is following the law, and this is exactly what Marquette is going to do. The policy states that employees, students, guests and contractors are not permitted to “carry any weapons on university property except as expressly permitted by applicable State law; openly carry any weapons on university property; carry any weapons in any university building or leased space or at any university special event marked with signage specifying ‘Weapons are prohibited in this building.’” This policy applies to all weapons, not just firearms. To the extent possible within the law, Marquette will be banning weapons on campus.

What necessitates this change? We’ve gotten by fine without weapons before Act 35. Why, now that we have a concealed carry law in Wisconsin, is everyone enthusiastic about the right to carry a concealed weapon? Nothing on Marquette’s campus magically changed on November first when the law took effect to increase the desire to pack heat. Dozens of colleges have banned weapons on campus in states that have concealed carry laws. According to a compilation of college campus shootings by Google, approximately twenty-two shootings have occurred since 1990 – that’s approximately one shooting per year. There is not an epidemic of college shootings that arming students would prevent. The infrequency of college shootings and the insignificant effect armed students have during school shootings clearly show that current bans are not detrimental to the safety of college campuses.

Life on college campuses often involves some drug use and alcohol consumption that could impair the judgment of a law-abiding gun owner. The Harvard School of Public Health conducted a study that found that those with alcohol problems are more likely to have firearms with them at school. “These alcohol-related behaviors suggest that college gun owners are more likely than those who do not own guns to engage in activities that put themselves and others at risk for severe or life-threatening injuries. Damaging property when intoxicated suggests an inability to contain aggressive impulses.” The logical connection between drinking impairing judgment and shortening tempers and gun ownership should be clear: the two do not mix. This negative connectivity should be recognized. Although there are provisions in Act 35 to prevent the sale of alcohol to people that are believed to possess a firearm, it’s called concealed carry for a reason; even the most astute bartender might oversee a hidden weapon.

Furthermore, the Wisconsin law has provisions that require the obtainer of a permit to be at least 21 years old. With only about a third of the student body eligible to obtain permits (and not all would bring a weapon to campus even if permitted), how could a policy that would allow students to carry weapons be effective? This is just another practical reason that shows that having weapons on campus would not improve the safety of the campus in any substantial way.

Ultimately, allowing weapons on campus is a Pandora’s Box. DPS should devote its time to more important issues. Weapons have been banned on dozens of college campuses for years and the infrequency of situations where carrying weapons could prove useful are few and far between. This is common sense: guns and school don’t mix and never have.

by Evan Umpir
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The 99 Percent are Revolting!

Posted on 03 November 2011 by Joseph Dobbs

One of the biggest problems with information in the digital age is how much of it there is. Far from the days when there was one phone company and maybe one or two different news stations or newspapers per borough, and farther still from the days of the town crier, we have discovered a new problem: surfeited with data, not only are we quick to lose perspective, but we cannot even know who to trust.

Intentionally massaging coverage of incidents to highlight one side or another can be done — and no doubt regularly is done — by anyone with half a brain, though the effectiveness of the spin varies from place to place. Thanks to the ever-greater diffusion of information through the Internet, it is much easier to get a balanced picture, or so we think.

The truth is that we like to hear people who agree with us and tend to have much less patience for anyone offering a different opinion. Though Catholics are notorious for not reading the Bible as much as many Protestant denominations, think how many fewer of the Mass-going crowd have read — let alone really thought about and grappled with — Richard Dawkins, to take a single, if prominent, instance. And of course there are examples of this among all demographics because it is simply human.

Interestingly, one of the recent controversies that seems to be at least somewhat aware of this difficulty is the Occupy movement (which, for my convenience and yours, I will abbreviate OWS for Occupy Wall Street). OWS claims and aims to be something more than Democrats or even liberals; it wants to get beyond the sectarianism and deal with what they see as real problems, chief among them being severe economic disparity.

OWS uses social media to spread its message, but shows it’s serious by taking over sections of public places (all as lawful as they can make it). This is not just an online petition or a college club that meets on Wednesdays. Of course, there are exceptions; the point of the movement is to take the power out of the hands of the selfish people at the top who abuse it. Whether or not that is an accurate description of the present situation is a matter of some debate.

The questions about OWS fall into two categories: are they right, and are they doing the right thing about it? For all its rhetoric and longing, I am afraid OWS is not all that bipartisan, though I’m sure some of its supporters would be just as happy without “brain-dead Republicans.” The simplest proof of this is that they criticize the Wall Street bailouts, but not their architect (you know, the fellow in the Oval Office).

To be fair, their rhetoric certainly suggests that they don’t want it to be that way. OWS is self-described as “a post-political movement representing something far greater than failed party politics.” According to their own survey, “close to 70.3 percent” of OWS supporters consider themselves Independents. On the other hand, only 2.4 percent said they were Republicans, which is smaller than the number of people sampled who did not support the protests (6.5 percent). The survey concluded that “Our data suggest that the 99-percent movement comes from and looks like the 99 percent.” But 92.1 percent of the sample had spent at least some time at college. Perhaps this is as close as anyone can get to the 99 percent.

And maybe a movement like this has to be diplomatic. As little as either side might like to admit it, the Tea Party and OWS have a lot in common. Both are grassroots organizations that formed in a disgusted response to the way things were being run by the powerful elites. The Tea Party didn’t like the bailouts either; they smelled of crony capitalism, which no conservative supports. The Tea Party was also tired of the NeoCons running things. And the Tea Party’s critics also seized on all the opportunities they could to make them look bad. What was the result? The Tea Party forced change, but it did so within the current system. OWS may not want that, but they may have to settle. “The biggest difference between the Tea Party and OWS is that the Tea Party has the support of the Koch Bros as well as Fox News itself,” said OWS organizer Harrison Schultz.

I mean, I’ll flat out say it: I’m not sure OWS has the best grip on the way things are or how they should be. But I’m not going to tell you stories about how icky they are or how they’re probably unemployed bums and college kids with nothing better to blah blah blah. That’s not a point worth making, even if it were all true of all of them. But for the same reason I’m not going to tell stories about police brutality or jackasses destroying the protestor’s property and think that settles matters.

Of course some people are going to the protests just hoping for some free love or free something else; no doubt there’s some people trying to make money off of it (though I understand that at least the Wall Street group is doing a very good and equitable job in taking care of their community needs). So what? What the leaders have to say is what’s important. If it’s meaningless, then it doesn’t matter how nice the protests are; they’re wasting their own time if nothing else. If it’s the right thing, then I figure it’s probably worth a few more stoned twenty-somethings writing bad poetry. And if it’s somewhere in between, well, maybe then we can start adding up all the little things.

Maybe I’ve been unfair. OWS does desperately want to be post-political, though I imagine they don’t want to abolish politics in general, perhaps just the system we have now (if that). Of course, although they want to abolish it, the most glaring economic problems (the real-estate crash and the Wall Street bailouts) in their minds come from a suppression of the free-market, but that is neither here nor there. The problem is not just the usual jeer that OWS doesn’t have a message; the problem is in all the implications of all the messages that come out. It’d be easy to call them all a bunch of liberals and then think about them as one does about liberals, but I think they do realize (or are starting to realize) that Obama is not their answer, and maybe no Democrat can be. Both OWS and liberals blame the rich, but OWS also blames the system that liberals love: big government. Schultz even said: “Corporations owned by rich people are much more functional and efficient compared to governments.”

OWS is about self-empowerment and social change. They want this to be achieved on their terms, without being co-opted. But what can they achieve? OWS can’t take the government over by force, and not only are their potential candidates unelectable, but they wouldn’t run in the first place.

Antagonizing the powerful is all well and good – and maybe they do deserve it. Maybe we do need the social change that OWS wants for us. But how are we going to get it?

Well, there is another non-political group that has overseen and encouraged social progress. It’s had its own problems with corruption and confusion, but it’s always had a message of love and brotherhood at its core. It may be too much of an institution — too respectable — for OWS to trust, but the Catholic Church has been fighting its fight for a lot longer. The most obviously absent statistic from the surveys on OWS is the religiousness of the respondents. I suspect a large number of them are atheists, agnostics or non-practicing.

Though they may indeed be post-political, OWS seems socially almost monolithic. Dr. Costas Panagopoulos performed his own survey of OWS and found that 80 percent identify themselves as liberals, but about 75 percent disapprove of Obama’s performance as President. Though recent notes suggest the Vatican has a slight leftwards lean in economic matters, and is certainly big on peace, love and morality in all sectors of life, I fear neither it nor OWS desires much association with the other.

What does that leave OWS with? Well, itself. Who will trust self-described anarchists with the keys to an institution? And where else will they find the power to change anything, unless in the barrel of a gun? If OWS turns outward and works for change, it will be the first thing that changes. If it turns inwards and simply becomes a commune, then that will simply be it. And if it stays the same and grows? It will eventually cross a line that it will have no strength to hold. Of course, OWS is already changing; committees have been set up to handle various affairs. Union officials have been helping out (if OWS really fears being co-opted, that’s where it’s going to come from). And just two weeks ago, Occupy Boston kicked out two members of its financial committee for allegedly mismanaging funds. When the post-political group not only has politics but political trouble, it’s time to take a second look.

by Joseph Dobbs
[email protected]

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